Collected released and
unreleased vocoder recordings, 1970-1982, from the electronic music pioneer,
due Oct. 19 on Stones Throw. Check out the MP3s, below.
By Blurt Staff
Up until now, the legacy of Bruce Haack (1931-1988) has only existed in the
quirks, glitches, and audio signals of modern techno-luminaries such as
Kraftwerk and Daft Punk, but unlike the aforementioned, Haack has been
relegated to a position of relative obscurity. With Stones Throw’s collection Farad: The Electric Voice, the
electronic music pioneer can hopefully be lifted into the spotlight of the
Electronic music continuum.
J Dilla would be the one to enlighten us that Haack was something more than a
just guest on the Mister Rogers Show. “I first heard Haack’s music through
Dilla,” says Stones Throw founder and DJ, Peanut Butter Wolf, recalling a road
trip he had taken with both J Dilla and Madlib. Haack had released the
electronic-based acid-rock album Electric Lucifer in 1970, a conceptual piece
that maps out a war between heaven and hell. “It really threw me off. It was
this psychedelic, electronic stuff from the late 60s that sounded so
Haack’s music is rooted in the idea that humans and electronic machines share a
reciprocal relationship that manifests itself through sounds. In order to
further explore this dynamic, Haack dropped out of Juilliard to pursue a more
experimental course in, surprisingly, educational children’s music. He later
released material off his own label Dimension 5 Records in 1962, which allowed
him to mix kinetic energy, infuse psychedelic philosophy, and pluck sounds from
various genres across the board. Haack used homemade synthesizers,
proto-vocoders, and the skin-touch sensitive Dermatron to expand his music into
a realm of technological creativity.
Farad: The Electric Voice specifically focuses on tracks using Haack’s self-made vocoder, which he named
“Farad.” This was the one of the first truly musical vocoders, and first to be
used on a pop album, pre-dating Kraftwerk’s Autobahn by several years.
The album includes out of print and un-released tracks accessed though
negotiations with Haack’s estate. “We are excited by the thought of working
with labels such as Stones Throw to see what happens when their selective
audiences discover Bruce,” says Bruce Haack Estate director Philip Anagnos, who
also designed this album’s artwork. “The estate is also very fond of the art of
remixing and is intrigued by the notion that popular artists such as Kanye West
and Thom Yorke may very well be on their way to discovering Haack for the first
A collection of remixes has been organized by Peanut Butter Wolf. These will be
released as an EP at a later date. Here is 1970’s “Incantation”
remixed by Danimals, and a video for 1982’s “Party Machine” remixed
by Prince Language.